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Posts Tagged ‘Porsche 911’

Buttons, Dials and Paddles – This Isn’t Your Father’s Old Transmission

New tech improves performance, mileage, user operation.

by on Aug.11, 2014

The new Lincoln MKC opts for a pushbutton transmission rather than a conventional shift lever.

Button, button, who’s got the button?

Slip inside Lincoln’s new MKC and you may be in for a surprise when you fire it up and reach to put the 2015 crossover into gear. That’s because the traditional shift lever is gone, replaced by a set of buttons on the instrument panel.

The new Chrysler 200 sedan, as well as the maker’s big Ram 1500 pickup, adopts a rotary dial to shift gears. Jaguar uses a similar system on its XF sedan, though here the knob rises out of the center console when the driver presses the start button while an indicator light pulses like a heartbeat.

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A growing number of new models, from the new Mini Hardtop to the Porsche Panamera Turbo, have adopted paddle shifters akin to what you’ll find in a Formula One race car, meanwhile. Mercedes-Benz and BMW, meanwhile, have downsized the steering wheel-mounted shift levers, while Maserati and Alfa Romeo’s center console shifters are little bigger than the joysticks you’ll find on videogame controllers.

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Mercedes Reveals More About Upcoming GT

Youtube video reveals engine, other key details.

by on Jun.16, 2014

Mercedes offers a clearer look at the new GT sports car it plans to introduce this autumn.

Two months after revealing plans to launch an all-new high-performance sports car, Mercedes-Benz is offering up some intriguing new details – and a first full rendering of the new AMG GT set to make its formal world debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show next September.

A teaser video released through Youtube tells us the 2-seater will be powered by a new 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 Mercedes has dubbed the M178. Likely to replace the current 6.2-liter V-8 used in other AMG models such as the Mercedes C63, it is expected to produce a solid 503 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque.

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That’s about the same torque as the outgoing Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, though the M178 generates around 60 fewer ponies. But the new model is expected to be smaller, lighter – and a lot less expensive, senior Mercedes officials hinting that the new GT will likely start at the upper end of the Porsche 911range.

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Mercedes Offers First Hint of New GT Sports Car

“Going into Porsche 911 space.”

by on Apr.16, 2014

A look at the interior of the upcoming Mercedes-Benz GT AMG sports car due to debut later this year.

Watch your back, Porsche, you’re about to get a challenge from your cross-town rival, Mercedes-Benz.

Hours before the official opening of the 2014 New York Auto Show, Mercedes offered small group of reporters and dealers a brief tease of the all-new sports car it plans to launch later this year. And a top executive confirmed that the new Mercedes-Benz GT will take direct aim at the segment’s benchmark, the Porsche 911.

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For the moment, there aren’t many details to go on.  Mercedes offered up only a basic sketch of the exterior shape, along with some close-ups of the new GT’s interior, all done up in a seductive red leather.

But Steve Cannon, the CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, later told TheDetroitBureau.com, “We’re going into space the Porsche 911 has had all to itself for all these years.”

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2015 Corvette Stingray to Get New 8-Speed Automatic

New transmission expected to be quicker, smoother, more fuel-efficient.

by on Apr.07, 2014

The Stingray will shift to an 8-speed for 2015.

Not even a year out of the box, the new Chevrolet Corvette is about to get a significant upgrade.  The 2015 version of the Stingray will trade in its current 6-speed automatic transmission for a new 8-speed gearbox that promises to be smoother and quicker, the maker says.

The new 8L90 automatic also is expected to yield about a 5% improvement in fuel economy, according to General Motors, a significant figure, especially considering the current Corvette already can deliver as much as 30 mpg on the highway, a number not traditionally associated with a high-performance sports car capable of producing as much as 460 horsepower.

“Corvette Stingray’s new eight-speed automatic delivers the comfort and drivability of a true automatic transmission, as well as lightning-fast shifts and the manual control that enhance the performance-driving experience,” said Bill Goodrich, assistant chief engineer for eight-speed automatic transmissions. “It was designed to enhance the Stingray’s driving experience, with performance on par with dual-clutch designs, but without sacrificing refinement.”

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Porsche to Unveil New 911 Targa

A “third alternative.”

by on Jan.09, 2014

A passel of past Porsche Targas.

If you love the feeling of the wind and sun on your face – but just not quite enough to buy a convertible, Porsche has a third alternative for you, the next-generation 911 Targa that will make its formal debut at the North American International Auto Show next week.

Oddly enough, this unusual design was developed to answer a problem that never actually materialized, but wound up clicking with a wide range of Porsche 911 buyers.

A Sporting Choice!

The new model, as with earlier versions of the Targa, features a massive sliding top.  It’s a lot bigger than even a Panorama sunroof and doesn’t create the hassles of a T-top, like the one on the new Chevrolet Corvette.  But the design also has a wraparound rear window and pillars like a conventional 911 hardtop.

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Camaro Z/28 Buyers will Pony up $75,000

Chevy auctioning rights to the first one for charity.

by on Jan.03, 2014

The 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 posted a faster time than the Porsche 911 on the famed Nurburgring in Germany.

In the automotive world, power often means cash, and in the case of the new Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 it means $75,000 if you want the 500-plus horsepower beast in your driveway.

A surprise introduction at last year’s New York Auto Show, the revived nameplate gives Camaro aficionados a high-performance option rivaling the best of America and Europe. In fact, it delivered an impressive time of 7:37.47 in a drizzly mist on Germany’s famous Nurburgring track, beating the numbers for the Porsche 911.

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“The Camaro Z/28 is an uncompromising performer that’s bred for the track – and every one of its unique components supports the goal of faster lap times,” said Mark Reuss, president, General Motors North America, in a statement. (more…)

First Drive: 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Detroit gives Porsche a run for the money.

by on Sep.18, 2013

Chevrolet has begun shipping the first new 2014 Corvette Stingray coupes to dealers this week.

It’s long been known as “America’s sports car,” but despite having some fine attributes, the Chevrolet Corvette has long lagged that global sports car benchmark, the Porsche 911.  So, when we got our first look at the all-new, seventh-generation ‘Vette during a sneak preview in a well-guarded conference center last December, we were left wondering whether the folks at General Motors might have finally taken the challenge seriously and were set to give Porsche a run for the money.

True, from a financial standpoint, the 2014 Corvette Stingray wins hands-down.  You can get a fully-equipped Chevy for around $72,000, or barely two-thirds the price of a similarly well-contented Porsche Cayman, never mind the 911. But when it comes to sports car cred, price takes a back seat to other numbers like horsepower, power-to-weight ratios, cornering forces and the like.

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The good news, as we recently experienced during a long day’s run through the hills and dales of Central California, is that the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray stands up on every count.  No wonder the maker is finally confidant it can gain traction for the new 2-seater beyond our shores. The latest incarnation of America’s sports car is now good enough to be a global player that just also happens to be a good bargain.

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Porsche Marks 50th With Special Edition

Venerable 911 stands the test of time with small changes.

by on Sep.12, 2013

The Porsche 901 became the iconic 911 after the maker changed the name to avoid a fight with Renault in 1963.

Even the venerable Model T lasted barely two decades in production despite the stubbornness of Henry Ford. The number of vehicles that have made it to the half-century mark can be counted on one hand. So, it’s not surprising the folks at Porsche are in the mood for a celebration this week.

The German maker’s iconic 911 sports car made its debut exactly 50 years ago on the stands at the Frankfurt Motor Show, and Porsche is marking the occasion by introducing a special anniversary edition at this year’s car show, with a limited run of just 1963 to honor the year the 911 made its debut.

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What’s particularly unusual about the sports car’s longevity is the fact that despite all the changes that have been made under the skin, as well as to the interior, today’s Porsche 911 maintains the same basic exterior profile of the original. (more…)

From Rock Star to Automotive Entrepreneur

Catherine Wheel’s Rob Dickinson wants to “bottle and preserve” classic Porsche 911s.

by on Aug.27, 2013

Rob Dickinson with hiss latest Porsche 911 recreation.

There’s an inside joke behind the name of Rob Dickinson’s new venture, Singer Vehicle Design – but that said, the customized classic Porsches he’s producing are nothing to laugh at.

The irony is that the British entrepreneur set out to earn a degree as an automotive designer at Britain’s Coventry University before taking a detour and becoming the lead singer in the English alternative rock band Catherine Wheel. But, almost by accident, his knack for customizing old Porsches for his own pleasure has turned into a serious business.

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The latest example was on display at the 2013 Quail Motosports Gathering earlier this month, decked out in “Singer Racing Blue and Orange,” a color combination meant to celebrate the motorsports era if the 1970s.  There are a number of automotive entrepreneurs who’ve set out to build something new, supercars from Spyker and Pagani quickly coming to mind.  Dickinson, on the other hand, is rebuilding something old.

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First Drive: 2014 Jaguar F-Type

Well worth the wait.

by on Apr.18, 2013

The Jaguar F-Type V8 S during a first drive in Spain.

There’s an unexpected chill in the air as we head out from our hotel on the outskirts of Pamplona, Spain, dawn still 30 minutes away.  Yet despite the early hour, it’s hard to contain the excitement about what’s to come.

It isn’t very often that we get to test a new sports car from the folks at Jaguar.  Indeed, the last time the maker launched an all-new one was more than a half-century ago with the groundbreaking E-Type.  While there have been tweener cars since then, such as the XK, none has truly targeted the sports car segment.  Until now, with the Jaguar F-Type, that is.

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Few new entries have generated more buzz in recent months, and with good reason.  The 2-seater comes through with a blend of sensuous yet menacing styling that one would expect from Jaguar. And those good looks are complemented by exhilarating performance and dynamic handling.  Is the new F-Type really the “best sports car in the world,” as Jaguar officials have started to boast? Here’s what we discovered during two days of hard driving both on-road and on-track.

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